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CDC Releases New Guidelines For PrEP

TruvadaThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a new set of guidelines for the use of PrEP as an HIV preventative after having determined that PrEP is an effective method of HIV prevention. Said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention,

While a vaccine or cure may one day end the HIV epidemic, PrEP is a powerful tool that has the potential to alter the course of the U.S. HIV epidemic today. These guidelines represent an important step toward fully realizing the promise of PrEP. We should add to this momentum, working to ensure that PrEP is used by the right people, in the right way, in the right circumstances.

The guidelines acknowledge that PrEP is an additional strategy to be used for HIV prevention, and while over 90% effective at reducing HIV transmission on its own, it is most effective when used in combination with condoms and other risk-reduction practices.


Medi-Cal Increases Accessibility Of Truvada, Eliminates Monthly HIV Testing Requirement

Truvada

California's Medi-Cal, a state welfare program serving low-income families, seniors, persons with disabilities, children in foster care, pregnant women, and certain low-income adults, has made it easier for the people they serve to have access to Truvada as PrEP. First, they've eliminated the requirement that patients be tested monthly for HIV; the requirement that patients be provided with condoms was lifted; and the requirement that the patient's doctor has to receive Medi-Cal's permission before writing a prescription.

The decisions to lift these requirements came after discussions between Mike Wofford, Medi-Cal’s pharmacy policy branch chief, and representatives from AIDS Project Los Angeles, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, and Project Inform. Removing Medi-Cal's required approval made for one less step patients would have to go through to get started on a regimen, and the relaxing of the condom and HIV testing requirements came after the three groups asserted that they were "not necessarily real world conditions."


Can Truvada Hurt You? New Video Debunks Three PrEP Myths: WATCH

Prep

Youreka Science (which is kinda like ASAP Science, except mostly about diseases) debunks three myths behind pre-exposure prophylactics (PrEP) like Truvada to separate fact from fiction. The myths are that it doesn't work, it has bad side effects and is impossible to get.

Gawker also recent published a thorough but informative article about PrEP that's worth reading.

See Youreka's video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Can Truvada Hurt You? New Video Debunks Three PrEP Myths: WATCH" »


Stephen Colbert Talks to Gay Teen Science Prodigy Jack Andraka: VIDEO

Andraka

Stephen Colbert last night welcomed Jack Andraka, the 16-year-old gay science genius who developed a groundbreaking new way to detect early stages of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer.

Asked Colbert: "Have you thought about using your powers for evil, cause this is the age at which normally supervillains make the turn?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

If you missed Andraka's 60 Minutes segment, catch it HERE.

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Continue reading "Stephen Colbert Talks to Gay Teen Science Prodigy Jack Andraka: VIDEO" »


What The Death Of DOMA Means For Medicare

SiegelkopelovToday has already seen the unprecedented advancement of rights for same-sex married couples with the U.S. Department of Treasury's decision to extend tax benefits to same-sex married couples, regardless of the state in which they live. This is, or course, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services is following suit, and has released guidelines for what the end of DOMA means for Medicare.

Same-sex married couples will now have access to nursing home care through their Medicare-funded private insurance, a benefit that has always been available to opposite-sex married couples. According to the Washington Blade, in the days before DOMA was struck down:

"Seniors with Medicare Advantage previously may have had to choose between receiving coverage in a nursing home away from their same-sex spouse or disenrolling from their plan to be with their loved one. The latter option would mean paying more out of pocket for care."

Thankfully, those days are now over. Danielle Moon, director of the Medicare Drug & Health Plan Contract Administration Group, lays out The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new post-DOMA interpretation of the term "spouse":

"In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, CMS believes it would be impermissible to interpret the term ‘spouse,’ as used in section 1852(l)(4)(A)(iii), to exclude individuals who are in a legally valid same-sex marriage sanctioned by a state, territorial or foreign government...MA organizations therefore are required, effective immediately, to cover services in a SNF in which a validly married same sex spouse resides to the extent that they would be required to cover the services if an opposite sex spouse resided in the SNF."

Fed-dept-of-health-and-human-servicesIn a news statement accompanying the new guidelines, Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius noted that this new guideline is the first of many more that will be on the way:

“HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs. Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

Better yet, Moon has clarified that the new guideline applies to couples, across the country, even if they live in a state that does not yet recognize marriage equality:

“The foregoing analysis applies to individuals of the same sex who are domiciled in a state or territory that recognizes their relationship as a marriage. It also applies to individuals of the same sex who were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction without regard to whether they are domiciled in a state or territory that recognizes their relationship as a marriage.”

You can read the full release, via the Washington Blade, HERE.


New York Doctor's Restroom Welcomes Everyone: PHOTO

Bathroom

Given what's happening in Arizona now, I thought this might be a good time to show off this photo, taken by my partner Dave at his doctor's office in Manhattan.


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